Surface Finishes on Natural Stone

Take a look through our sawn stone catalogue and you soon realise that there are a multitude of different surface finishes on offer. Whereas some are purely sawn, other stones are sawn and sandblasted, honed or flamed. The difference is something we get asked about, so here's a quick run-down of what gets done to which, and why.

Sandblasting Resize 1 

Sawn stone, pure and simple

Sawn stone, such as the Grey and Darleymoor Buff Yorkstones, are those which need no additional finish, because they have a natural slip-resistance, cut so cleanly that saw-marks are not an issue, and look gorgeous just as they are.

Sawn grey yorkstone, sawn only 

Sawn and sand-blasted

When natural stone pavings are sand-blasted, it often indicates that they're particularly dense. If the sawn surface were not sand-blasted, it would be too smooth and slippery, especially in the wet. With it, you get a safe, non-slip surface with a very consistent texture, as illustrated below by our Buff Sawn Sandstone.

Buff Sawn Sandstone, sand-blasted 

Sawn and flamed

For similar reasons, some stones are flamed. Again, this adds a non-slip finish to paving that would otherwise prove slippery, such as Moleanos Limestone. However, flaming also adds an extra dimension to a stone's appearance and is particularly suitable for granites and basalt because it emphasises the crystalline structure of the material.

Black basalt, sawn and flamed 

Sawn, sand-blasted and brushed

Brushing – which is performed with a rotating brush head, rather than an eager man with a broom – can be brought into play after sand-blasting, and is for aesthetic purposes. We do this with, for example, Jura Beige Limestone because it brings out the colour and softens the sand-blasted finish slightly, adding an aged effect.

Jura Beige Limestone, sandblasted and brushed 

Sawn and honed

Honing is sometimes performed for the same reason as brushing—it brings out the colour of some stones. In most cases, though, it's employed to remove saw-marks and smooth the finish. You can see from the Beige Sawn Sandstone below that, like sand-blasting, it gives a very even finish, but one that is slightly finer textured.

Beige Sawn Sandstone, sawn and honed

Finally, for everyone who enjoys a bit of big machinery in action (and because we've made you look at a whole lot of stone close-up), here's a video of flaming, carried out by one of our suppliers.

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Published 3rd September 2015
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